Last week I was lucky enough to attend my second Emerald City Comic Con as the ECCC celebrated its 15th anniversary! During my first visit, several years ago, I spent most of my time on the show floor, but this time I was able to take it all in, the show floor, artist ally, and my favorite part, the panels! In between, I surveyed the cosplay, navigated large crowds, did a lot of walking and came home with a huge haul of books, pins and swag!
This year I noted several trends in costumes. Deadpool and Rey from Star Wars were particularly popular this year, as was Stranger Things. ECCC is very cosplay friendly, featuring several cosplay lounges, costume repair stations, costuming panels and the West Coast Championship of Cosplay – the largest cosplay event on the West Coast. The ECCC organizers also took steps to make cosplay safer and fun for everyone with the “Cosplay is Not Consent “ initiative – an effort to make cosplayers more comfortable and lessen any chance of harassment. Attendees were encouraged to ask before taking pictures or touching. Something that was very welcome, particularly to female attendees who may have felt less comfortable in the past. As I was only able to attend one day of the convention, I talked to my husband Tom, an ECCC regular who has been going to ECCC since 2007 as both an attendee and an assistant to his father, who has been an exhibitor for many years. Tom mentioned that this year he felt there was less of an emphasis on “popular” or well-known characters and a bigger emphasis on lesser known characters – other than Marvel and DC – an indication that other companies getting more exposure. He also noticed more eclectic costumes overall and more female cosplayers.
This year the convention saw a record 90,000 attendees. To accommodate the crowds, the convention expanded to take over the entire convention center, the Sheraton Hotel and the Paramount Theatre. This expansion made for a more enjoyable con experience, because the crowds were dispersed equally among several buildings, as opposed to just one. I found that there were fewer lines, quicker movement on the showroom floor and easier access to booths.
In particular, I felt that the convention had become more organized since the last time I attended, with artist alley separated from the showroom floor. When I previously attended, the artists were incorporated into the showroom floor making for tight spaces and confusing lines.
My one complaint was the inconsistencies between the official program and the website, and inaccuracies regarding times and booth locations. On a few occasions, times listed on the website were different then the times listed in the program and vice versa. But overall, this was a much more enjoyable experience than I had a few years ago, and I left looking forward to returning again next year.
One of the reasons I was able to attend ECCC was because of a program that they offer in cooperation with the Washington State Bar Association featuring a panel on the law of comic book adaptations for the screen. It was a fascinating look at the process that a book takes as it becomes a film.
I also was able to get into a panel featuring Jim Cummings – the voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger among other roles. This was a lot of fun.
My final panel of the day featured a discussion of women creators who are making a business out of their love of fandom and geekdom. As the owner of an Etsy shop that I would like to see grow, this was an excellent panel and I spent the time learning from some fantastic women creators.
This was the 2nd year that Funko was in attendance at ECCC. There were quite a few exclusive pop figures, however, they were almost completely sold out by Saturday, so I wasn’t able to get the specific figures that I had my eye on. There was no shortage of Funko figurines though, and I took home a couple.
There was also an excellent variety of exclusive ECCC merchandise including tees, scarves and hats. This was all very popular and at the time of writing this there were only a few items remaining for sale on the website.
There was a large gaming presence. I saw many gaming booths, several floors of sponsored gaming, and panels on gaming.
Carrie Fisher Tribute
Prior to her death in December, Carrie Fisher had been announced as a guest for this year’s Con, so she was dearly missed. In her absence, the Convention featured a moving tribute to Carrie, allowing attendees to leave their remembrances of the actress.
Overall, this Convention was a game changer for me. Previously I had been intimidated by the crowds and logistics of these large conventions, but thanks to superior organization and an excellent schedule of panels the convention experience has grown on me. My husband and I are planning to take in more of the con next year! I hope you’ll consider joining us from March 1-4, 2018 in Seattle!